A kind of

I want to break free! One of the great, great hits of the great, great band – Queen. And what bet­ter place to break free than Corn­wall? That’s cer­tainly what the leg­endary band’s drum­mer Roger Tay­lor thinks and he should know, he grew up here, writes Bern

Cornwall Life - - CLASSIC CORNWALL -

orn­wall is a land all of its own,’ says Roger who now lives in Sur­rey but keeps a home near Helford. ‘I was ac­tu­ally born in Nor­folk which is an­other lovely area but mov­ing to Corn­wall when I was about seven was prob­a­bly one of the best things that could have hap­pened to me.

‘There is a great sense of free­dom in Corn­wall and a great place to grow up. We moved to Truro which I still think is a fan­tas­tic place and at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing. I went to Bosvigo School at first and we ac­tu­ally started a band there. My cousin had a ukulele and I was al­lowed to have a go at it. I couldn’t re­ally get into it but I did like mak­ing a noise and I used to mess about on up­turned saucepans with my mum’s knit­ting nee­dles. That’s how I started play­ing drums.

‘Bands and then groups were a big thing in those days so I thought it would be good to form a band among some of us at Bosvigo, we even had a first gig at a school dance. We were called the Bub­blin­gover Boys and we were more of a skif­fle group than any­thing else be­cause our in­stru­ments were a mixed bunch and we couldn’t re­ally play. I’d like to say we were an overnight suc­cess but we weren’t.

‘I did like mu­sic though and it was dis­cov­ered that I had a de­cent voice so I was en­rolled with the Truro Cathe­dral School and found my­self singing in the choir. I didn’t re­ally like that very much be­cause there was a dif­fer­ence be­tween want­ing to sing and hav­ing to sing.

‘The Bub­blin­gover Boys quickly be­came a thing of the past and in­stead I was in the choir and singing three times on Sun­days and on spe­cial oc­ca­sions. It was prob­a­bly good for me re­ally but I just had no real de­sire to be a choir­boy.’

‘He found him­self at Truro School thanks to a schol­ar­ship which meant he went there for free. ‘It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence,’ he says.

‘I was more and more into mu­sic and es­pe­cially I was fas­ci­nated by drums. I ac­tu­ally found an old snare drum and I was thrilled to bits. My Dad helped me do it up a bit and I had my very own drum. Grad­u­ally that was added to and I drove ev­ery­one crazy by spend­ing as much time as pos­si­ble play­ing my drums.’

An­other band soon fol­lowed, this time called the Cousin Jacks. ‘I still messed about with gui­tars and I was the band’s rhythm gui­tarist for a while un­til it was dis­cov­ered that I would be more use­ful on drums.

‘Af­ter that came Johnny Quale and the Re­ac­tion. We en­tered a lo­cal tal­ent show and came fourth which was not great but good enough to get a load of book­ings…’ And when Johnny sud­denly left Roger took over as lead singer and as Re­ac­tion en­tered that same com­pe­ti­tion and won. This brought more book­ings and he says, ‘a bit of in­ter­est from Lon­don’.

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